Isn’t it rather ironic that Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who seems nearly every day to decry President Barack Obama for engaging in class warfare because he has the audacity to state that he believes rich folk such as Romney should pay their fair share of income tax, yet in a rare moment of truth told a group of $50,000 a plate campaign contributors that “There are forty-seven percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are forty-seven percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what… These are people who pay no income tax. My job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
As someone who survives on $698.00 a month in Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits, I am one of the forty-seven percent whom Mr. Romney speaks, one of “those people,” as he likes to refer to us as. I receive SSI benefits because I was a state government employee ever since my Navy days during the late 1970s and as such, never paid a great deal into Social Security. However, this is my only means of income; I have no other income to supplement. Moreover, since being kicked off Medicaid four years ago because future state retirement benefits that I do not currently receive still count as income against me for some asinine reason, I rely on the VA for my medical benefits. In Romney’s eyes, I am nothing more than a freeloading, deadbeat moocher. I am insulted by Mr. Romney’s characterization of me as such, since he has no knowledge of and obviously does not care how I came to be in such a dire predicament. Along with myself, the forty-seven percent of Americans he so despises include among others, the elderly, veterans and the working poor. If Mr. Romney wants to characterize Americans, let me characterize him because this attitude reeks of nothing more than an out of touch elitist, one who detests the common man.
Owning several multi-million dollar homes throughout the country, one of which has an elevator for his too numerous cars, I believe it safe to say that Mr. Romney has taken full advantage of the income tax deduction for home mortgage interest. Over the course of a thirty-year mortgage, this deduction for a multi-million dollar mansion has most likely amounted to millions of dollars, saving several hundred thousand dollars if not many times that in taxes for poor Mr. Romney. Yet, he has the audaciousness to criticize someone like me because I will receive a total of $8,376 in SSI benefits this year.
Yes, there is class warfare being waged in this country and has been for some time. When America first started shipping its manufacturing jobs overseas in the 1970s, along with it decent paying jobs for the working class, this nation began its downward spiral of rapidly becoming a nation of have’s and have not’s. Yes, there is a redistribution going on in America, but it is not as Mr. Romney now likes to mock President Obama by referring to a fourteen-year-old video clip. The redistribution that has been going on for nearly five decades is the redistribution of wealth going to the upper one percent of the nation at the expense of the working class and poor. The United States has the highest income inequality among all developed countries. Under President Clinton, forty-five percent of total income gains went to the top one percent, under President Bush the figure was sixty-five percent, while under President Obama the figure is a staggering ninety-three percent. Since 1979, the top one percent of wage earners income rose two hundred and seventy-five percent while the bottom twenty percent of earners income rose a paltry eighteen percent. With the Supreme Court ruling two years ago that removed almost all monetary limits on campaign contributions, this nation has reached the tipping point in governance. Are we a great democracy or are we nothing more than a plutocracy, ruled by the wealthy elite?
Maybe the number one rule in politics is that if you have bad news to report, release it on Friday afternoon, as most Americans will not notice. That being said, Mr. Romney released his 2011 tax return at 3:00 yesterday afternoon. What bad news could possibly warranted this Friday release? It seems that Romney paid $1.9 million in taxes on $13.7 million in earnings, an effective rate of slightly more than fourteen percent. However, there is more to this return than what appears. It seems that Romney claimed a charitable deduction of only $2.25 million despite actually donating more than $4 million. For what reason could Romney possibly have for not taking the entire charitable deduction? If he had deducted the entire $4 million in contributions, his effective tax rate would have been an astounding nine percent. It is for this very reason why George W. Romney, Mitt’s father, stated during his unsuccessful 1968 presidential campaign that he was releasing twelve years worth of tax returns because one or two years could be an abnormality. In a sadly ironic twist to his 2011 tax return, Mr. Romney could still deduct the entire charitable contribution by amending his taxes during the next three years. It would not surprise me one bit if Romney has already filed an amended return for 2011. Not long ago, Mr. Romney opined that “I don’t pay more than legally due and frankly if I had paid more than are legally due I don’t think I’d be qualified to become president. I’d think people would want me to follow the law and pay only what the tax code requires.” By his own standards, Mitt Romney is unqualified to be the president of the United States.
The Christian bible, in Luke 12:48, states in part …For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required, and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” Either the Mormon faith does not reflect this belief, or Romney as a church deacon does not. For he seems to believe that to whom much is given, much more is deserved. In another section of his recently uncovered infamous speech, Romney said that the economy would get a boast just by his election alone, without him doing a thing. This man must be more than just a church deacon, he must be a savior!
As a politician, Mr. Romney should be embarrassed by his comments. As one who professes to be a Christian, he should be ashamed of himself. And as a taxpayer who paid an income tax rate less than fourteen percent on nearly twenty-two million dollars of earnings for 2010, and in reality will pay a rate of nine percent on earnings of nearly $14 million once he amends his 2011 return, rates far lower than ninety-nine percent of almost every hard-working American, Mitt Romney should keep his mouth shut when it comes to government entitlements, for he is the biggest moocher of them all!
Steven H. Spring